This week a Federal Drug Administration panel backed the approval of a weight loss drug called Qnexa. Strictly intended for use by clinically overweight people with BMIs over 27kg/m2, Qnexa is a combination of an already-existing weight loss drug and another drug not yet approved for weight loss. At present, many doctors use this particular combination of drugs to treat obese patients, but this approval would allow them not to go "off the label" with their prescriptions.
Art Caplan is a bioethicist. Dr. Louis Aronne is director of the Comprehensive Weight Loss Program at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.